Archive for Thursday, January 30, 2003

Allenbrand accepts blame for filing miscue

January 30, 2003

Curtis Allenbrand isn't pointing the finger at anyone else for a situation that may see him leaving the De Soto USD 232 Board of Education when his current term ends this year.

"It's my fault," Curtis Allenbrand said. "I did it to myself."

Facing a noon deadline, 12-year Board veteran Allenbrand went to the Johnson County Election Office in Olathe the morning of Jan. 21 to file for re-election. He should have filed earlier, Allenbrand said, but the holidays and other duties filled his schedule. At the Election Office, Allenbrand was reminded he no longer lived within the boundaries of Position 3, one of four Board seats that expire this spring.

Six of the seven Board members are elected to positions tied to defined boundaries, while Position 7 is an at-large seat. In the most recent redrawing of position boundaries last fall, the area south of De Soto in which Allenbrand lives was moved from Position 3 to Position 4.

Allenbrand said he knew that at the time, but had expressed interest in running for the at-large Position 7 seat because it was known incumbent Marsha Bennett wasn't going to seek re-election.

The Board looked at numerous options before settling on the approved boundaries, Allenbrand said. All those that kept him within the boundaries of Position 3 were awkward because of the growth in west Shawnee.

When he learned of his mistake, Allenbrand said he informed the district office. Board member Sandy Thierer said she learned of the situation through a conference call with Superintendent Marilyn Layman, Board clerk Barbara Weis and community relations director Carol Farmer. They were concerned that if no one filed for the Position 3 seat, the Board might have to appoint two members this year.

"I have to say I had to give that some thought," Thierer said. "I didn't know if I wanted to make that commitment."

Thierer said she decided to act on the information because no one had filed. Even then, she said she waited to file at the Election Office until just minutes before the noon deadline.

"Had anyone else chosen to file, I wouldn't have ran," she said. "I gave people every opportunity. I waited in that office until the last minute to file."

The decision will make the Board's representation more rational the next two years, Thierer said.

If she continued to serve on the Board for two more years as the Position 4 member, she would not represent those in whose district she now lives, Thierer said. Should she win the Position 3 seat in April, that district and the Position 4 seat will be represented on the Board by members living within the positions' boundaries, she said.

Should Thierer win her uncontested race for the Position 3 seat, she will resign her Position 4 seat in April. That would create a vacancy the Board would have to fill. Allenbrand would be eligible for the seat.

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